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Pourrais-tu nous en dire plus sur toi car jâ€™ai le sentiment que Ã§a devient de plus en plus difficile de te trouver sur le net ? Could you tell us a little about yourself as I feel that itâ€™s getting more and more difficult to find you on the Internet ?
I played in various bands for years, and ended up just going solo at some point. Most of my time spent performing was so that I could trade in those hours for studio time. At a certain point, I stopped playing live, listened to a lot of studio psych albums from the 1960’s, and made an LP. A lot of the old albums I liked were pretty crude, with transparent effects. Creating a vibe, but not a world. Not sophisticated enough to actually create a whole world. I tried to replicate some of those sounds with modern equipment. Big mistake. I released my first album Abandoned Meander and a couple of people thought it was pretty cool. I just kept going from there with massive breaks in between. Most the time in between was spent doing other kinds of psychedelic research. Here I am 9 years later still on that same path. I don’t have a publicist, and I am the studio and the label. I don’t use social media, and can barely code my website. This is a music project that uses the Internet to distribute the music, not an Internet project that creates content for the web. Other than that, I have discovered that I am lost and unknown and that’s very acid and absolutely appropriate.
Est-ce que tu vis toujours en Californie et comment se passe ta vie lÃ -bas ? Do you still live in California and How is life there ?
I moved to San Francisco in 1995. I am lucky to moved here when I did, and rather foolish for not getting the place out of my system by now. It’s beyond like or dislike for me. It’s been a creative compass with years of ideas superimposed onto every corner of the immediate area. Historically, I needed to be able to mentally recreate drug trips, defeats, and a few actual successes on a daily bases to keep this project going. The bay area is only one version of California, and California is only one version of America. I could live anywhere at this point because I have 20 years worth of music made in California that needs to be finished. Every song is just another street corner to me at this point.
I really am not as austere as RDJ or MBV. I am kind of deep pastiche. This is what brought me back to prog from acid gaze and kraut rock. I’m more into Steve Howe really. My Bloody Relayer or something. I just can’t be a taste crime cop when it comes to things like guitar solos. I got deeper into electronic music because it was kind of strange doing more traditional arrangements as a solo person. Electronic music is more about your relationship to hardware or software, which made more sense then just creating 24 tracks of myself playing everything. Machines have base personalities, and seem to add a second mind to the project. This solved an existential dilemma for me on pretty much every level. I’m sure I would have been unaware of this dilemma if I hadn’t played on bands for so many years. I think my albums have become more about programming than me sitting around with a guitar and singing like I used to. It was a change that happened over a long period of time, because in the beginning I would work on vocals everyday. When I introduced the machines into the process, I felt like I disappeared in the mix, and I really liked that feeling. Like it’s more interesting for me to input data and connect modules than to sit around the campfire. It’s a total reflection of my environment.
This whole theory was created by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea in the 1970s. It came from the Illuminatus Trilogy books. I recently read those books again, and I would not suggest anyone read them. I was just obsessed with one certain appendix of the third volume, and thought it was obscure enough to base a series of concept albums on. The music scene around the time I released Abandoned Meander in California was at the peak of neo hippy, and it was kind of strange to see how many people took it seriously. I think that’s why I am following through with it. The whole myth of the 60’s is like that too. Of course it wasn’t magic, unless you believe it was. I think the more instrumental non vocal aspects of the last two albums fit the stages as I interpret them. Parenthesis is the stage of bureaucracy, and I think the fact that Cantosynaxis is as long as Frequenseqer with half the tracks reflects a certain sense of being frozen in place. Now as I enter in the Paralysis stage, I have no choice but to consider it a gate way back to a Thesis. This means we need to pack the coffin with a little bit of everything on the long journey to reincarnation.
If you hung out with me for a week, you would realize people are better in the abstract. I probably needed to die in my 20s to join that any sort of mythological circle. My whole thing now is how to navigate a world that quantizes every aspect of digital life through Internet metrics, and confuses that process with actual living. Unfortunately, most people’s current perception of reality is being shaped by programs that quantity their own algorithms. It was easy to have mystique before this era. Easy to leave a small mark on a small tribe, and have the myth blow out of proportion. Most of my hero’s have been delimited by tacky websites, and negated by a current generation that have turned themselves into a product they have sold back to their selves. This process has made billionaires out of non artists. Unless you consider someone who makes an app an artist.
Concernant les labels, tu es sorti sur plusieurs comme Peaking Mandala, Easterelics, Smooch, Tapes From The Gates, quâ€™est-ce qui te fais en changer et quelle est ta relation avec ces labels ? About labels, youâ€™ve been on different like Peaking Mandala , easterelics ( Is that your studio ?), Smooch, Tapes from The Gates, what makes you change and whatâ€™s your relationship to these labels ?
Originally I tried to get Sub Pop to release Abandoned Meander, and they told me to throw away my freak folk albums. Good advice. Peaking Mandala was a label I started that produced one actual physical product. It seemed perfect with just one product so I let it go at that. When I started to release more music digitally, I felt like I needed a new name for the releases. Easterelics is the name of my studio, so I sort of ended up using that recently as a ‘label’ name. I also released a one-off studio sampler under the name Easterelics, confusing matters more. I’m not sure how to interpret the idea of a digital label really. Smooch was my friend Andrew, and he folded his entire label and disappeared to Texas. Tapes From the Gates is my friend Chris. Tapes From the Gates is the best label I have worked with so far as a solo musician. He has been talking about getting into vinyl, and I hope he does. I have so many tracks in the cue at this point, that I don’t really know if any label could handle releasing all the material. I would love to have a strong relationship with a real record label, but the industry has kind of imploded at this point.
Like I mentioned before, I ended up immersing myself in music from the 1960’s and 70’s when creating Abandoned Meander. I really wanted to try and get those vintage sounds dialed in right. The combination of only listening to that music and living in San Francisco created a strange portal for me for many years. There is still a lot of Summer of Love propaganda in the Haight to this day. I finally allowed my self to start listening to some of my favorite music of the 1980s and 90’s during the making of Exodusarabesque. Mainly I just was listening to a lot of Creation and Warp classics. I guess that stuff is sort of vintage now, so I can safely still not be contemporary. This is the kind of thing I lose sleep about at night you know! Right now I am back to listening to that first wave of psychedelic and progressive because it counterbalances a lot of the technology I am using. I realized after a while that a lot of the electronic music I make sounds like Brainticket in 1982 or something, so I just have to live with that.
This was a dig on Prog Archives for giving Exodusarabesque a shit review, and then asking me for an interview. I think they have several different moderators, which is kind of a bad idea. One guy liked me, and another hated the album and together they were pulling me into their abyss. I actually use that site a lot to learn about completely obscure bands, and I realized that it’s a tough scene with those prog rockers. They really have a tough criteria for what they will accept as progressive. Probably just bitter about creating music that is pretty much hated by the entire world! I would call myself proto prog. I always gut check San Francisco psychedelic 1965-70 as some sort of barometer for what I am doing as an entry point into something like Canterbury or Italian Symphonic Prog. Grateful Dead are total proto prog.
My process seems to be going through a lot of back and forth as to whether or not I really want to do this. Then at the last possible minute, I create an impossible deadline and race to the finish line. I never feel great about what I am doing and want to quit every day. One of the things that has totally helped me in the last several years is using modular synthesizers and sequencers to generate a creative dialog between me and some kind of alternate musical vector. It helps to stop the thought process completely, which is necessary for me to find the music. This sort of indicates that I am not actually coming up with this on my own, but rather it’s being channeled from some other place. I can’t stop the process, and it’s impossible to walk away. It’s not really coming from the living waking person that is floating around this earth every day. It is coming from a subconcious navigator who gone to great lengths to find silent places where this information can be exorcised. That involves total surrender of one’s ego self to get to that place. Only a fool would take credit for something like that after traveling to that plane.
I have been having a lot of thoughts of quitting and releasing music anonymously, which is probably unnecessary. I have fans that come out of nowhere all the time and push me along at the exact moment I have made up my mind to stop. In addition to music, I have been shooting 8 and 16mm film for years, and am close to finishing what I call the ‘Sound Film Series’. Just celluloid images cut to tracks that never made it onto albums, but with more cinematic elements that go beyond just being music videos. Working with film actually caused me to have a complete nervous breakdown a few years ago. I lost my ability to find silence, and my head was filled with pictures and it just short circuited my trip. No man can have two masters I suppose.
Michandi is my main collaboration with my wife. It started out being called Godseye and we were performing under that name for a while. We are slowly creating a new album in a haunted house in East Oakland. We’re having a kind of Exile on Main Street moment with the new album, and it’s going to be kind of stripped down and very home studio. Other than that, a lot of my planned collabs have failed pretty miserably. I am hard to work with.
I started out using a Roland Juno 6 in a live environment through a bass amp at fairly high decibel levels. I would attempt to recreate the exact sound from stage in the studio trying to mic up the bass cabinet and running the signal to 1″ or 2″ tape. It was the golden era of being able to find cheap Roland gear, and I was able to easily replace my Juno for tours. I think I went through about 3 of them. For the last several years I started using old Roland MC’s to sync or control my Juno with the 303 or SH 101, plus TR’s straight to 1/2″ tape using about 8 channels. I have a lot more control over the sound using this method. I started syncing newer euro rack analogue modules in this mix, and came up with tracks like Mystic Overreach or Prognoz Relikt. Right now I use a Roland MC 4 to control 4 modules for pitch with CV1, and VCA or VCF functions are modified with the CV2. Then I can Din Sync the 303, or a 202 for more control over more modules. I had my 303 quicksilvered, which is not as cool as the devil fish mod, but I love the new CPU. I love using the 303 as sort of a micro composer, using the cv and gate out to newer modules like Maths or Clouds. That’s kind of living the dream right there. My goal now is to create polyphony using just pitch data for several oscillators at once, and start sequencing chords. I am sure there is an easier way to accomplish this, but it will probably create a whole new sound for me in the process by doing it the wrong way. When I had no money, I really appreciated my Reason and Abelton software cracks, but the synth sounds are kind of thin. I also love to use samples, so sometimes the computer is easier to work with. I am actually really interested in getting into some digital euro rack stuff with more complex wave shaping capabilities. I think that’s the next wave for modular really. I was hard core analog until I started using Mutable Instruments, and realized there’s room for both. Analog is pretty great though. Matrix/Runout on Cantosynaxis is just din synced Roland synths and TRs recorded in one take to 1/4″ tape with no overdubs. It is probably one of my favorite tracks on the album. That being said, I use computers on all the albums as well. I prefer to use hardware and amps and mics, but I am not a purist at all.
I wanted the album to be released on Day of the Dead. It was an impulsive decision after a four plus year hiatus. The fact that there will now be a cassette of the particular digital ritual being performed adds a nice little ripple after the fact. I knew that if I chose that day to unleash those songs, the Gods would be with me and grant me safe passage to album number five. Now I can leave a proper shaman dust trail while I go out and grab some tacos.
Andrew Douglas Rothbard Mixtape
01. Vangelis – Spiral [Excerpt]
02. Peanut Butter Conspiracy – Crystal Tear [ADR Remix]
03. Picchio Dal Pozzo – Merta
04. T.O.N.T.O.S Expanding Head Band – Ferryboat
05. Schicke-FÃ¼hrs-FrÃ¶hling – Wizzard
06. ADR – Tense of Presence Tips On Perpetual Precipice
07. Mothers of Invention – King Kong Parts I and II
08. Barretta & Bordeaux – La Drogue
09. Billy Nichols – Life Is Short [ADR Remix]
10. Flower Pot – Wantin’ Ain’t Gettin’ [ADR Remix]
11. ADR – Szczuczyn
12. Heldon – Borelo Pt. 8 Deterrioration
13. Manuel GÃ¶ttsching – Glorious Fight
14. Moebius & Beerbohm – Narkose
15. GD – Beautiful Jam (Port Chester, New York 2-18-71)
16. Ceyleib People – Tanyet [ADR Remix]
17. Brainticket – Voyage Part 1 [Excerpt]
18. ADR – Prognoz Relikt Minus Wurli Console 65
19. Marks & Lebzelter – Essence Of It’s Own